Sunday, January 05, 2014
I awoke one morning realizing that Bridgett's Plantation had been open and making money every day for almost a year. It was Thanksgiving again and Caleb was already in the kitchen preparing turkeys by the dozen. His crew was well at it when I wandered down for a cup of coffee around 8:30 a.m. and I stepped into the kitchen just far enough and long enough to shout out, "Good morning!" and get them back, plus a smile from Caleb. I left the kitchen and found my usual spot, closest to the kitchen door as the heat from kitchen was usually belching through the doorway and I could sit and enjoy it in the mostly chilly house. As I scanned the room around me, inspecting for cleanliness and readiness, I felt Caleb come up behind me and I turned, but he wasn't there. A chill hit my back and the hair on the back of my neck stood up, goose bumps ran down my arms. I felt frozen and my mind was firing questions that my mouth would not form. I knew someone was standing within touching distance, but I could not see anyone there.
Calab came out of the kitchen with a small plate bearing my favorite, but forbidden, breakfast food - a pecan carmel roll. He stopped dead in his tracks. "Are you alright?" he nearly shouted. It was a loud enough shout that a couple of the kitchen crew came out to see what was going on. They stopped in the doorway behind Caleb.
The "spell" was broken and I nodded that I was fine and Caleb rushed to my side, set the plate on the table and sat down on the chair he pulled closer. He took my hand.
"You're hand is freezing, you look like you saw a g - ."
"I didn't see anything but I am positive one was standing right there," I said pointing - afraid to get any closer to the spot, even with a finger tip. "It was a very cold feeling that came over me, but honestly, I thought you had come into the room first, then I felt the coldness when I turned around."
He watched the color come back into her face, felt her hands warming in his and noticed the shaking slow down and disappear. The rest of the crew went back into the kitchen and they were alone again, she hoped.
"Look what I brought you for breakfast!" he said hoping to change the subject totally.
"I see it. It's beautiful and I'm going to enjoy it. I don't usually eat these things as the sugar is horrible for my veins, but today, I'm going to indulge. Have a little with me?" I offered, but he declined.
"I made a huge batch of them. If I want one, I know where to get one."
I took a bite and it melted in my mouth. It was one of the best carmel pecan rolls I had ever had. I knew I would not be able to leave a single bite behind. When I looked at him, he was smiling. He didn't have to ask. My reaction was all he wanted. "Absolutely devine!" I said.
"I made them with a sugar substitute - Truvia! The brown comes from cooking them slowly and longer than normal. I was worried they might be dry, but they came out fabulously. I also traded the butter for applesauce. Didn't catch that, did you?"
I took another bite. "No, I didn't catch the applesauce. How did you make the caramel?" I asked.
"Well, that is the real thing. Full out sugar, but I put less on top than normal and I think they came out great."
"They did. They are the best!" I'd test my blood sugar level two hours later and find out how much sugar I injested. I'd kick myself real hard, especially if my BSL was too high, but for now, I was just going to enjoy. I noticed he had cut it into a nice-sized portion, not the monsterous sizes the stores and restaurants cut.
He pulled a card from his pocket. "For your Sparking!" he said. It was a recipe all the way down to the calories, carbs, fat, sugar, fiber, and protein. "I put it in SparkPeople.com and shared it. You should be able to just pop it up, get points for it, and add it to your food tracker for the day."
"Wow! I didn't know you were on SparkPeople. When did you join?"
"Yesterday! I saw you Sparking, as you call it, and so I looked it up. Fantastic site. I immediately found SparkRecipes and this was my first try at entering a recipe.
I looked for his moniker and found it. I smiled at him. "You are so good to me. We should get married and stop this separate living stuff. You're here almost as much as I am." I was teasing but the look on his face changed from a grin to all seriousness.
"Will you?" he asked.
"Will I what?" I asked like an idiot that had dropped it's brains a ways back.
Now it was my turn to look serious. I thought for a moment. There was no reason to not get married. I was sure I loved him from months earlier and I didn't really care how long it took him to fall in love with me, he wanted to know if I would marry him. I started shaking. I set myself up for a downfall and looked him in the eye. "Yes. I'll marry you."
There it was - full out, standing like a shiny stone in the middle of a fountain. He stood, pulled me to my feet, then took me in his arms and kissed me like I'd never been kissed before. When he let go, I sank down into the chair. He danced around the table, twice! Then he ran into the kitchen shouting that he was getting married.
The one female he had on his crew screamed in joy and ran out to the dining room to give her best wishes to me. The rest, except one, came out to give their best wishes to me then filed back into the kitchen. Caleb came out, took my hand and lead me back into the kitchen. Joshua was up to his elbows stuffing a turkey with several already stuffed and a couple more waiting beside him.
"I can't shake your hand, but Best Wishes. It's about time he settled down," he smiled and kept stuffing the turkey.
"Thanks, Joshua. Thank you, All!" I said.
"Ah, Boss?" Caleb asked.
I hated when he called me boss, but the smile on his face made it perfectly acceptable. "Yes," I asked.
"Can I have Monday off to go to the courthouse for the marriage license?"
"Yes, but do you have a date set yet?"
"I do. How about Christmas, this year?"
"Whoa! That's only a month away. I'm not sure - "
"What's the problem? Get the dress, I'll get the flowers, we'll have it here and the guests can be our patrons and crew and anyone you want to invite. I'll make the cake with Babs help as she's great in the baking department along with her other duties."
"What's your favorite color?" Babs asked from across her counter.
"Purple." I said without really thinking. Things were moving quickly. "But let's do red and green for Christmas, please."
"Done!" she replied.
I went upstairs, prepared for the day and went back downstairs. I went out to the tree and looked down at the little stone for Bridgett.
"Did you hear? I'm getting married to Caleb in a month? I said yes and was surprised with the date. Do you think I'm doing the right thing?" I looked up in the tree, thinking about how silly I must look talking to a grave and saw the lanturn light up. It was daylight, the sun was shining on the eye that told it when to shut off. I started to reach for it, knowing it was too high for me to reach, but it went off. "Is that your way of answering me?" I asked.
The lanturn lit up again and then went off. "One more time, if you are Bridgett." the lanturn lit up again and turned off again. "Wow!" I whispered. I backed away and went into the house.
"Caleb, let's decorate the oak tree out back. I want lights in it - white ones, and lots of red bows all over it."
"Sounds great to me, call Bartoli's. He does Christmad Decorations very reasonable and to order. Catch him now and you'll be on his list before the new year!"
I sat down at my computer and pulled up Bartolis Christmas Decorations and there he was. I called and was lucky enough to be one of his first customers for the year. He'd be out in the afternoon to see what I wanted.
When he arrived, I sat him down to a turkey dinner of Caleb's and discussed the arrangements. He was going to do the entire thing for a song, all in white lights and red bows with green bows behind the red ones, to make it look like holly. It would be done by the end of the following week.
I ran upstairs to change for work and came back down just in time for the first guests to arrive. When I sat them, there was a couple already seated in the corner. I went to them. "Good evening. I'm sorry, I didn't see you come in."
"It's alright. The old gentleman sat us here and said someone would be right with us. Nice old man."
"Did he tell you his name? How was he dressed?" I asked hurridly. I hadn't employed an old man, nice or otherwise.
"Tall-lanky man, balding, wearing black - head to toe. Looked like a butler - very in sinc with this place, I will add," the man said.
"Yes, but he had a sad look about his eyes," said the woman beside him.
"Oh, Millie! Everyone has a sad look about them, according to you," the man complained.
"They do not! But that man did! And stop putting me down!" she sniffed at her mate.
The two continued in hushed tones but I was out the door to the kitchen. Caleb came to me. I looked at him and read his mind.
"See those two people behind me - he fighting couple at 3," I asked.
He nodded and I barely saw his eyes move. "They told me an old gentleman, tall and lanky parked them there and told them someone would be right with them. Dressed in black, head to toe, like a butler - very in sinc with this place. We don't have anyone like that. What did your grandfather look like?"
"Hold on. Don't go off the deep end on this. I don't remember my grandfather that much. I didn't see him that much, remember. But what's got you so upset? The chill you had this morning?"
"Yes, that and the fact that I think I found a way for Bridgett to talk to me." I left the kitchen out the back door. I ran out to the oak tree and was basically hidden from the windows by a huge bush. "Bridgett? Are you here?" I looked up at the lanturn. It lit and then went out.
"Was your husband in the house a short while ago, ushering customers to tables?" There was a long delay in her answer - as though she had to confer on the answer. Then the lanturn came on and went out. "Bridgett. What is no?"
The lanturn came on and went out twice. "Okay. so it was your husband. He was a solid. Can you do that, too?" The lanturn came on and went out.
I felt her before I saw her. She stood beside me. A little old lady, dressed in a gown of black with white lace about the throat. It looked as crisp and clean as if she just dressed a few minutes before. Her hair was swept up into a knot at the back of her crown, a few curls hanging down. She was so neat and perfectly dressed, including the black lace gloves on her hands. I reached out slowly and touched her hand. It was cold, but she smiled and her hand wrapped around my fingers. "Hello, Dear. Don't be afraid. I've been watching over you for quite a while now - since you came here."
"Bridgett. You look just like I thought you would. Where is your husband?" I asked.
She pointed at his little stone, still buried under long grass. "He's trying to make up for all his sins. He only wants his stone as nice looking as mine. He likes what you did, dear. He likes you. He say's you're good for Caleb and he would do anything for Caleb. He was mean in his life and he is sorry for it now. God changed him just before he died. I have to tell you, it was quite a change, too. We'll talk later. Caleb is looking for you."
She was gone that fast. No fade out, just gone. I turned and rushed into the house to take care of Caleb and customers.